Letter: Millennium madness

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I've had enough! I just cannot stand it any more! My time as a member of the silent minority is over. The world needs to know! Next year is not the beginning of the new millennium.

Dionysius Exiguus was an abbot who lived from 500 to 560 AD - anno domini, meaning, "In the year of our Lord." Dionysius invented the BC/AD system of dating. He missed out three or four years. If Dionysius had got his sums right, we should have celebrated the new millennium in what we still call 1996 or 1997.

But, let us allow, for the sake of argument, that this is indeed the 1,999th year since the birth of Christ. Even so, the year 2000 is not the beginning of the new millennium. If we count from one to 10, the number of numbers is, well, 10! The next set of 10 begins with 11; the same logic applies when you count in hundreds and thousands. The Christian calendar goes from 1BC to 1AD. There is no year zero. None of us can lay claim to living in our 0th year. And so it is for Jesus Christ.

The beginning of the new millennium will occur in 2001. I do apologise to all those millions of people who have been led to believe that next year is the beginning of the new millennium, and who are, therefore well into their celebratory preparations.

Dr DAVID M WILLIAMS

Bungay, Suffolk

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